268 Weekender vs 268 Sundancer


New Member
I am a first time boater looking to buy an old but clean Sea Ray within my budget.

I am looking for a cabin cruiser as I will have young kids on the boat and need a complete head to use while out on the water.

I found 2 deals:

1. 1987 Sea Ray 268 Weekender with 454 Magnum Mercruiser engine with 842 hours on it but also that Alpha One stern drive which every mechanic has warned me about for this model.

2. 1989 Sea Ray 268 Sundancer with a new Mercruiser engine and used Bravo Three stern drive.

Both are comparable structurally.

The Weekender is much better maintained and cosmetically as clean as you can get for this age. It has everything I need, even a built in HDTV, except not a shower, AC and water heater.

I understand generators don't come with this age???

The Sundancer is clean, 2 ft bigger, has the extra aft berth, wider seats at helm but ripped. No TV (lol) but also no shower, AC, water heater or generator and the fridge is very dirty. Always wonder about the maintenance when I see these kind of things?

Now both need around $3000 in repairs.

The Weekender needs new manifolds, mercathode, and battery charger. Trim Tab gage does not work even though trim tabs work. That's it as the engine overheated while on sea trial and they found the manifolds had a leak. Other than that, this boat will be ready to go.

The Sundancer has a leak at the transom. When they installed the Bravo they did not replace the transom plate and so now it is leaking. They need to remove the engine to fix it. Before that they had many new things added and the boat shut down on the water due to an electrical problem. They claim to have fixed it by repairing the ignition switch but have not taken it on water since the fix. So there could still be electrical problems with this boat. They claim only the leak is an issue now. But that seems a big one.
All else seems fine but I have not had it fully surveyed yet while the Weekender passed the bill.
The Sundancer needs the trim tab gage fixed also. It may need some cosmetic work, but with that new engine, I am very tempted. At least I should not have any issues tubing and going at good cruise speed when I like once the leak is fixed.

But the possible electrical issue concerns me. If these gremlins exist and the previous guy got rid of this boat so cheap, then what is to say anything else works on the water once I buy it?

So I am in limbo with which one to try an fix?

Any and all advice is well appreciated.

I have looked at over 20 boats physically since February. The season started this weekend and these are the 2 boats that fit my needs, the kids and the price but the possible dangers remain.

Thanks for any help with this process and review of these boats if you know any thing.


Well-Known Member
Well, I recommend you have a proper PROFESSIONAL marine survey done on whichever boat your leaning towards. Use an independent surveyor, not someone from the marina where the boat is.

A late '80's boat may look clean (or not) but, I would want to be sure there was no rot in the transom or stringers (especially if there was any kind of leak). Further, I'd want to see these boats out of the water for an exterior hull inspection as well as in the water for testing.

I wouldn't worry too much about an Alpha with a big block (there's many boats with this configuration as that's how they used to sell them) as this boat is big enough you will not be out wake jumping or hitting hard hole shots.... :). The Bravo 3 is a much better drive but, if the boat is missing what you want... then why? BTW, drives can be replaced/upgraded in time.

Also, this is a pretty big boat for a newbie, make sure you take some courses at your local Power Squadron and get some seat time in some smaller boats too. Practice maneuvering and docking in small places (with currents and wind) before you head out in the big boat and a crowded marina.
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New Member
Sean, thank you for your reply. I am so torn between these 2 Sea Ray boats.
I want the Sundancer for the new engine and Bravo drive and the extra berth but the leak in the transom and possible further electrical issues tell me they are selling this cheap because their mechanic knows many more issues will arise.

But then again, there may be little further wrong and no rot and then it's just a leak that I could fix next season if I keep it in a boatel.

I will get it surveyed if they don't sell it this month.

While the Weekender is also at a dealer and selling for the same price but has no leak. Just the manifolds need replacing and the trim tab gage fixed with a new charger to be added. Super clean and full survey done.

But if it is just the manifolds, why have they not sold it in the last 3 years??? It shows real well without a sea trial.

I am scared fuel tanks or engine corrosion could be an issue. Everything that could be upgraded or fixed cosmetically can be done next season.

This is why i need as much input from previous 1987-1989 Sea Ray Weekender and Sundancer users about their experiences and the issues with the Alpha Drive.

One mechanic said to me as an experienced mercruiser tech, don't waste money changing the drive on this boat. He believes I am better off just getting a newer boat with the added cost.


Well-Known Member
I'm with that mechanic. If you can afford a newer boat, that
is the way I would go. A 30 year old boat is going to have rot issues if it has never been touched and this would be my biggest concern over cleanliness, drives, equipment etc...

Stringers, transom and fuel tanks are an expensive restoration. Versus the value of the boat you would be in the RED very soon.

At least you know of the type of boat you want. I'd update your search and keep looking. You still need an independent professional survey, not one done by the marina.

Good luck